COLUMBIA — Screaming and sprinting into a field of cornstalks two feet higher than they were, FFA students from Stoutland High School disappeared into the recently opened corn maze at Bradford Research and Extension Center on Tuesday.
The students, along with FFA groups from 37 other high schools around Missouri, came together at the center for the 5th annual FFA Field Day.
“Agriculture is leading the way in advancements in technology and this (type of event) shows the students the importance of studying agriculture,” said Brooke Swindler, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at the Carrollton Area Career Center in Carrollton.
Swindler was one of the many instructors who brought students to Columbia for the all-day educational event. She did so, she said, to help them make a tangible “connection between science and agriculture.”
MU researchers, faculty and graduate students talked to the students about a number of different agricultural topics at stations around the facility. Demonstrations and interactive sessions included following the corn maze, reaching into a fistulated cow, and listening to information sessions on GPS technology, horses and insect observation.
“Twenty-seven years ago, I was one of these students, and I saw firsthand how science and agriculture can take a problem and solve it,” said Tim Reinbott, Bradford Research Center superintendant and organizer of the FFA Field Day. “It’s what inspired me to go to college and major in agriculture.”
Travis Burks, 15, from Stoutland High School, said he had already experienced farm life firsthand because he grew up on a farm. Despite his lifelong education in agriculture, though, he said he still learned a lot from spending the school day in Columbia.
“You learn more than what you already know,” Burks said.